Orange Mud HydraQuiver VP2 for People Prone to Tripping While Holding Stuff: 50K Test Run Review
If you remember from earlier this year, I wrote a review on the Orange Mud HydraQuiver Single Barrel pack and its ability to help me levitate and read the minds of other humans. Since writing that review, the owner of Orange Mud (and creator of the Harry Potter of hydration packs) read it and thought I was crazy (as I could read his mind while performing a perfect levitational maneuver). However, he graciously sent me a totally rad race challenge headband with patch in return for my ecstatic review of his hydration pack. As a result, I have become greatly enamored with his company's customer service, business approach and especially the excitingly different product line Orange Mud offers ultra runners.
First of all, I want you to know that I am deeply in love with the Orange Mud vest both in a way that should scare the CEO a little as everyone knows people with obsessive-compulsive disorder often become dangerous when you make them fall deep in love.
Or when you get them wet.
I’m no fair weather psycho, either. I have loved my HydraQuiver through the good times and the bad times.
Single barrel, I was always right there with you. No matter how high you let my Mountain Dew fizz in your bottle coming dangerously close to my ponytail or even that one time you took in some Kiwi flavored Gatorade laced with penicillin and made me throw up in my mouth, I continued to be your biggest fan.
Not biggest fan as in some lady who hasn’t left her bed in 22 years because of her addiction to Butterfinger's and Mountain Dew, but biggest fan as in I am a HydraQuiver fanatic.
So imagine my insane and potentially brain-exploding excitement when I found out the vest was now available online! Sweet lord. How is a girl supposed to sleep a wink knowing something like that? I could barely stop running around my house screaming, “The VP2 pack vest is here!!!”
(Please pardon all the exclamation points. Typically I do not throw them around all willy nilly, but when Orange Mud put two water bottles in a hydration pack with a vest…together no less…nothing says excitement like overuse of punctuation!!!!!)
Needless to say, I popped on over to the website to purchase that hydration vest thereby ensuring that my vest would be on my person by the date of my next 50K in Rosaryville State Park, Maryland. And I have to say I was somewhat surprised. I may be a little out of touch with all you crazy rock n’ roller ultra types, but I had no idea hydration vests, the new object of my affection, could cost about as much as my womanly boob squash procedure minus the insurance.
Just clicking a quick search online, I see other hydration packs from competitor vendors costing an approximate average of one-jiggetyy-jillion dollars each. Not only is the OCD ultra mother runner crazy in that special obsessive-compulsive way that makes me irresistible to psychiatrists, I am also crazy cheap. I tend to see money as something evil that I will never have enough of...therefore, I should never spend it on anything fun or frivolous. So the online price of $149.95 made me uh-skeerd. That’s right. UH-SKEERD.
That is southern for tremendously terrified. Feel free to use it in your day to day conversations.
I quickly recovered from my skeery condition however when realizing this vest pack is competitively matched in cost by other hydration pack brands like Ultimate Direction so if I shopped elsewhere I'd probably be shelling out more dough and settling for a bladder type vest pack which is nearly impossible to keep clean and not at all what I was looking for in the first place.
I found Orange Mud is also slightly cheaper than some well-known brands like Salomon. As far as storage comparisons, the compact arrangement of the VP2 Pack is more sufficient in that it offers more comfort than a Xanax flavored smoothie with a vodka chaser and tiny little pistol you can use to threaten the runner in your age group should she try to pass you in any way. Not that I would pack such items for an ultra race but the storage is there.
But with something as important as a hydration pack for long runs and ultras, comfort and usage trumps cost. Sure, my kids selfishly prefer food over my desire to have a fancy hydration vest. Truth be told, they probably would have preferred college over my Roctane gels and Hoka shoe spending, but that ship has sailed. There are some things an OCD ultra runner can't live without... no matter what. And I'm sure they can find work at a good gas station someday.
The only reason I mention the slightly high cost of the VP2 is I know how hard a decision it is to spend this kind of cheese on a vest to hold water and stuff. However I do admit that the cost of this vest is worth the wear because once on in an ultra race, you'll think a little less about the bling and the things and a lot more about what's on the inside. In other words, it's nice to have the ability to wear all your stuff, rather than having to hold it while you run. I discovered this and more about the vest pack, the HydraQuiver VP2 (Vest Pack 2 Bottle), in the Rosaryville 50K Trail Run in Upper Marlboro, Maryland recently.
Before I go any further, you should know that in addition to being a running product reviewer, I am a graceful gazelle. Actually it would probably be more accurate to say I am a graceful gazelle that falls down all the time on the trails when I use a handheld water bottle. I fall on tree roots, I fall down blind curves, and I fall up hills. If falling can be accomplished in any ultra race while holding a water bottle, rest assured I will get it done.
So imagine the relief of having my water bottle on my back, hands free to grab gels and Butterfingers from my front vest pockets with no loss of balance the whole 50K on a single track dirt and gravel trail. This vest allowed me to run unencumbered by things that true Southern girls aren’t that used to anyway, like carrying heavy things such as food and water in our finely manicured delicate hands.
Once the waves of euphoria from wearing the vest subsided (I had to take some Dramamine at the last aid station) I took the time to complete another glowing review, complete with photos of the pack, and some comparisons between the vest model and the HydraQuiver pack.
This HydraQuiver VP2 is Orange Mud’s first and only vest style product. The Single and Double barrel packs both include straps fitting over the shoulder and under the armpit. The VP2 falls further down the frontal area on each side, snapping into place with a single buckle across the boobs, which can be slightly cumbersome and makes me think this vest was initially designed for the male demographic. But it's all good because I love men. I married one of them. I can’t imagine a world without men. It would be a place I’d never want to live… mainly because it would be a land over run with spiders and flat tires.
The vest also consists of a strap on each side that runs toward the back, assisting in keeping it in place without restricting movement or breathing. The VP2 also uses a new lighter mesh material than the mesh with padding on the single barrel HydraQuiver. However, I wouldn't recommend wearing it bare back or with only a sports bra layered beneath.
I learned this when stripping down beneath the vest in the hot, humid middle of July just because my armpits were bubbling and I needed some sweet relief that usually only death can bring from the scorching sun. Well, that and I have no taste. There. I said it. I feel as clean as if I’d used something with the words “feminine" and "rain fresh” in it.
A large part of the summer I can manage to fake having just enough class so that decent people will be seen speaking to me as I run in the neighborhood. I also wear at least one bra when in close proximity of impressionable children just so you know.
But see what I mean? No taste. No couth. And blisters to prove that near nekkid is the wrong way to wear the pack.
Lesson learned, I'm back to running around cloaked in pretend classiness so that to the untrained eye, or someone who lives in a single wide whose landscaping plan includes tires with flowers in them, I might actually look like an okay gal.
And despite my blistering without a shirt beneath the vest, I noticed it is well constructed which involves less heat because of the thinner layer of padding than the single barrel pack. At first I assumed this genius design must have been handcrafted in Uganda by women who have nothing better to do than make mesh backing for hydration vest packs. That’s probably because their days aren’t over-scheduled the way mine are with things like eating food and living in a house. But then I remembered that all Orange Mud products are manufactured in the USA.
On the front of the vest, the VP2 carries the same stretch shoulder pockets of the single and double barrel packs. These are good for keys, gels, Butterfingers and other smaller items. The iPhone fits in here nicely too but I prefer to house mine in one of the larger front pockets to better hear the mapmyrun app lady announce my splits. That’s one of the best storage differences between the VP2 and the Single Barrel. The back zipper pocket on the single pack held a few gels or a tightly rolled tech shirt with no problem but the two large stretchy pockets on the front hold cans of Mountain Dew and bags of Cheetos. This front boob placement accessibility with plenty of allowable expansion is ideal on a trail with limited aid stations like this one.
Aid station? Or just a small space on Earth with things that twinkle, glow, spin, and/or shimmer. If I can find something that does all those things PLUS fills my Orange Mud hydration bottles with Mountain Dew, I have a little seizure and must be revived by a Butterfinger.
The pack indeed stays true to Orange Mud's mission of keeping hydration bottles on the upper back in the same fashion as the Single and Double Barrels. In addition, the VP2 also offers the rip cord on the back for fastening down a jacket or another bottle for instances when aid stations are few and far between.
Orange Mud's claim of "no bounce" hydration packs is right on. The VP2 matches the Single Barrel design's snug fit, stability and limited movement while on the go. Once the straps under the pits and over the boobs were secured comfortably tight enough, I never had to fiddle with them again. The fit was second skin smooth even over some quick and steep ascents and descents. The vest held all its contents in a sturdy fashion and never slid around the ribcage. Movement is unlimited with this contraption.
Here I am wearing the vest and still moving along at mile 22. One of the guys behind me said, "You may feel like hell, but you sure smell good." (If that's not a greeting card sentiment, I don't know what is.). I have to say, despite the humidity and having to tie my shirt up to catch excessive boob sweat, the vest stayed pretty dry and comfortable.
The VP2 pack is extremely light and airy. I didn’t feel excessive weight on my back or shoulders, even with the steep hills and downhill portions of the trail.
It's easy to wear. During most of the 50K, I didn't feel the vest at all. However, I did experience some rubbing around the collar area so I definitely recommend using body glide or baby butt paste as needed.
The storage capacity is endless. The front pockets are large enough to tote anything needed in an ultra or long training run. The rip cord in the back is also handy, whether you want to carry a rain jacket or an extra bottle on an armpit bubbling day in July.
And like all other Orange Mud products, it’s made in 'Merica!
I heart you guys, Orange Mud. Don't get too impressed though. I sort of heart everyone. It's how I do.
I loved the first HydraQuiver Single Barrel from the minute I wore it for my first 50 miler. I never thought a pack could get better than that one, but Orange Mud just topped themselves with the HydraQuiver Vest Pack 2. The VP2 offers all of the benefits of the Single Barrel, with additional storage space, one or two extra hydration bottles and a vest to hold all the essentials for an ultra race. From the company requests via email to review my Orange Mud purchase, it’s evident that the company appreciates feedback from their customers and brand ambassadors and utilizes the suggestions into new products and upgrades. The only suggestion I have is cosmetic. I know the brand color has to be orange, as in 'Orange Mud', but I'd like to see one in red, white and blue. And maybe one in Stars and Stripes for this patriotic weird girl.
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Tomorrow, once I've had a chance to breathe in and out and unpack at least 1/12th of what I over-packed for the 50K in this vest, I hope to return to the blog site to make you at least chortle if not a full-on shoot Mountain Dew out your nose laugh.
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